Ian McKellen answers a couple of questions about Magneto and Gandalf!
Hey folks, Harry here. I've been lucky enough to have Ian McKellen answer a couple of questions I decided to offer up to him recently concerning his roles in X-MEN and LORD OF THE RINGS.
To me, there seems to be this absolute terror in some fans that Ian is way too old to be playing Magneto or Gandalf. So I asked Ian:
H: Due to what I consider to be your amazingly convincing portrayls of some older characters
in recent film, many fans feel that you are 'not physical' enough to play the roles of Magneto
and Gandalf. In actuality you are quite younger
than they perceive... With this little forum... How would you address their fears?
Ian: "Both Magneto and Gandalf are characters who must appear to possess some superhuman
attributes and abilities. However, part of their charm is that each of them is also
recognizably human. As for the physicality of these two icons, I am a
little relieved that both movies will take advantage of the latest special effects technology.
Throughout my career on stage I have enjoyed playing characters who are much stronger and
athletic than I am offstage. As Romeo, which I played
when I was 37, I climbed up and down the proscenium arch 8 times a week. Ten years later as
Coriolanus, I fought hand-to-hand combat with shield and sword in a sand pit, semi-naked. Last
year as Captain Hook I fought the actor playing
Peter Pan (40 years my junior) and would have easily defeated him if he hadn't called on a
crocodile to support him. Meanwhile I had clambered up the rigging of the Jolly Roger 30 feet
above the stage in high-heeled boots and a hook on my
left hand. I'm very much looking forward to playing Magneto and a
much older Gandalf."
H: What brought an actor like you to these two roles, and what is it that challenges you in
I: "At this point, before a second round of discussions with the directors, I am relying on
their great expertise and enthusiasm for their respective screenplays, an enthusiasm which I
share. I may not quite know how to play either part
until I finish shooting."
H: Are you ready for the celebrity that you will earn by playing Gandalf?
I: "I am aware from my email that there are many ways of interpreting both Gandalf and Magneto.
So I warned all my correspondents that my first aim will be to please Bryan Singer and Peter
Jackson. If the result is not to every one else's
satisfaction, the celebrity that comes to me may well be of an entirely negative nature."
For now, that is it. While I know exactly how 'kissassy' this is going to sound, I just have to say... again, that I feel Ian is going to knock our socks off in both roles. He is simply one of the best actors working today, and damn do I wish I could have seen his Captain Hook. Can you imagine?